DOCUMENTARY ORGANIZATION OF CANADA LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO ASSESS MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING ACROSS THE DOCUMENTARY SECTOR
At the Toronto International Film Festival’s Industry Conference, the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) announced the launch of “DocuMentality”: an initiative that seeks to normalize conversations about mental health and well-being in our industry. The Canadian initiative comes on the heels of a series of therapist-led focus groups in the US and the UK. Documentality was started by US-based Malikkah Rollins (DOC NYC, D-Word), UK-based Rebecca Day (Film in Mind) and three D-Word co-hosts: Erica Ginsberg, Doug Block and Marj Safinia.
DOC has invited documentary creators to participate in a series of focus groups in January and February 2023, the anonymous results of which will be incorporated into a Spring 2023 report that will guide DOC’s work to normalize conversations around mental health in the Canadian documentary sector. Documentality will provide tools for how documentary filmmakers can become more resilient resources for themselves, their teams and the people who entrust them with their stories, and DOC will use the first-hand testimonies of Canadian documentary creators to advocate for sectoral change toward greater understanding of and support for mental health and well-being.
Malikkah Rollins is a freelance producer and documentary community builder, currently serving as the Director of Industry and Education for DOC NYC and as coordinating producer on Free Money, a documentary about universal basic income. She also was a psychotherapist and counselor for the past decade. As a therapist, she treated individuals with mental illness and substance abuse and approached her work from s strengths perspective. Integrating mental health and the doc filmmaking, she has served as a mental health consultant for a group of young BIPOC/LGBTQ+ filmmakers sponsored by POV. Malikkah moderated a panel discussion focused on mental health and documentary filmmakers hosted by the D-Word and DOC NYC. She has also been a Sundance Collab Community Leader, an active member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, an Ambassador for The D-Word’s weekly Zoom gatherings, a Docs In Progress Fellow, and a board member of Women in Film and Video-DC.
Jana Awad is a multi-graduate, certified Health & Life Coach and experienced Administrative Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the cultural field. Founder of JANA Consulting & Coaching, she offers leadership and executive coaching services for individuals and teams and guides them towards healthier and more collaborative dynamics to reach their goals and maintain a resilient and engaged organizational culture. Jana believes in a sustainable and respectful use of any resource, including human resources, and the crucial place constructive communication and vulnerable sharing have to initiate any powerful change.
Rebecca Day is a qualified psychotherapist and freelance documentary producer. She founded Film In Mind in 2018 to address mental health in the film industry. She offers therapy, clinical supervision, consultancies and workshops to filmmakers working in difficult situations and with vulnerable people. She has spoken at festivals and delivered training and support to organisations such as Berlinale, IDFA, Getting Real Documentary Conference, Sheffield DocFest, WIFTV & London Screenwriters Festival on the issue. Previously, she worked extensively with the Scottish Documentary Institute as a producer and on their impact work, most notably on the successful campaigns around award winning documentary, I Am Breathing and Seven Songs for a Long Life.
Cross-cultural interpretation | Applied decolonization & lateral liberation | Nature & land-based education and ceremony Kim Haxton (Potowatomi) is from the Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario. She has worked across Turtle Island and abroad in various capacities but always with a focus on local leadership. Her primary tools are based in ceremony and plant medicine. Her deep understanding of the need for genuine restoration has far-reaching implications as leaders seek vision and all people seek direction to address the mounting pressure of a system incongruous with the values of the natural world. Kim has developed and facilitated programs in more than 8 countries, and has been working in land-based education and leadership for the past 26 years, including as co-founder of Indigeneyez. She takes her place among thought leaders in the area of decolonization, particularly as it applies to language, art, economics and gender. She encourages the “lateral liberation” of consciousness by drawing from the embodied knowledge of Indigenous peoples. In multi-day workshops, she moves people through a personal process of questioning what is the truth and what is simply constructed – effectively rupturing what we “know.” True expression of respect, harmony, inclusion, equity can come from this place.
Nika is a practitioner of Somatic Experiencing, a trauma therapy modality that resolves trauma and builds resilience through body-centred attention and practices. She works 1:1 with clients and has growing experience in group facilitation, especially at the intersections of social justice and nervous system regulation. She has facilitated workshops both online and in-person for TRC Reading groups and at Dawson College, addressing the role of nervous system regulation in social justice work. Nika has trained in Somatic Abolitionism with Resmaa Menakem (My Grandmother’s Hands), and is a certified facilitator in the Trauma of Money, a compassionate approach to create financial safety and well-being. Nika is also an award-winning filmmaker, writer and director—skills she brings into her work to support creatives/creators who are telling difficult, important stories that are either their own or of others, to assist in building capacity and resilience in order to serve their creative work and not leave them further traumatized.